Julian Assange’s Nightmarish Future

The WikiLeaks publisher is in a maximum-security prison that has been called the UK’s Guantanamo Bay, Elizabeth Vos reports.

Aerial view of Belmarsh Prison. (Wikimedia Commons)

Aerial view of Belmarsh Prison. (Wikimedia Commons)

By Elizabeth Vos
Special to Consortium News

While Julian Assange waits for what comes next — sentencing on skipping bail in England and a U.S. extradition request — he is being held in a maximum-security prison in London that has been called the “UK’s Guantanamo Bay” and has been used to detain alleged terrorists, sometimes indefinitely

The reputation of HM Prison Belmarsh raises natural concerns about the wellbeing of the WikiLeaks publisher there.

“While many prisoners at Belmarsh say it’s difficult to see a doctor or a nurse, these services are available at the facility,” reports Bloomberg News, regarding the possibility of Assange receiving overdue medical attention. 

Her Majesty’s Prison Belmarsh had been used to detain high-profile national security prisoners indefinitely without charge under the Anti-terrorism, Crime and Security Act of 2001, passed six weeks after 9/11, until the House of Lords ruled it violated the British Human Rights Act.

Assange was found guilty on Thursday of skipping bail. On May 2 he is scheduled to participate in a court hearing via video link on the U.S. extradition request.

Assange’s name now tops the alphabetical roster of notables who have done time at Belmarsh or who are still there. The list includes notorious gangsters, serial killers and drug traffickers. Ronnie Biggs of the 1963 Great Train Robbery was imprisoned there.  Others are subjects of high-profile scandal, such as Richard Tomlinson, imprisoned for six months in 1997 after he gave a synopsis of a proposed book detailing his career with MI6 to an Australian publisher. Andy Coulson, a former press secretary to Prime Minister David Cameron, was imprisoned for a few months for the phone hacking scandal that engulfed News of the World while he was editor there. 

One mainstay of the inmate population are convicted terrorists. Abu Hamza al-Masri, an Egyptian cleric, was at Belmarsh until his  extradition to the United States where he is serving life in prison on 11 counts of terrorism. Rams Mohammed, Muktar Said Ibrahim and Yasin Hassan Omar were were all incarcerated there for their roles in the 2005 attempted bombings of the London underground. Anjou Choudhry completed his sentence at Belmarsh for promoting the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. Michael Adebolajo and Michael Adebowale are identified as Islamic terrorists convicted of the murder of British soldier Lee Rigby in London.  

There is legitimate concern about how Assange will fare inside Belmarsh. A 2018 survey by HM Chief Inspector of Prisons found that “91 percent of men said they had problems when they arrived at Belmarsh, which was higher than at other local prisons and more than at our last inspection,” Business Insider reported.

In 2009, the same prison authority had found extremely high amount of force used to control inmates at the prison.

Detainees were “unable to see the intelligence evidence against them and are confined to their cells for up to 22 hours a day. Their solicitors say they have been ‘entombed in concrete,’ BBC reported in 2004. 

The 2018 chief inspector’s report said the prison contains a “High Security Unit (HSU) within the already-high-security premises, which the report described as a ‘prison within a prison.’” The report went on to state that:

“The role of the high security unit (HSU) remained unclear. We were told it was for high risk category A prisoners, but such men are held in main locations in other high security prisons and we did not understand why the approach was different at Belmarsh. We noted that two of the men held were only standard risk category A prisoners and that in December 2017 two men from the main prison had been held in the HSU segregation unit. The conditions and the regime in the HSU provided prisoners with an intense custodial experience in which they could exercise little self-determination, and we were concerned that prisoners could be located there without any oversight process or redress.”

Describing the use of solitary confinement, the chief inspector’s report found: “Conditions in the unit were reasonable, but some prisoners could not have a shower or exercise every day. Those who could only be unlocked in the presence of several officers were most affected.” The report repeatedly described concerns that arose due to staff shortages, and added in a separate section: “We remained concerned about this use of designated cells, where men were held in prolonged solitary confinement on an impoverished regime.”

Individual accounts from former Belmarsh inmates published by CAGE, an advocacy group against human rights abuses that occurred as a result of the “war on Terror,” described their experiences. An anonymous prisoner who was later acquitted said: “The prison system is run in such a way as to humiliate and degrade the inmate as much as possible. The process of dehumanisation starts immediately.” In the wake of Assange’s imprisonment, CAGE published a statement, saying in part: “The UK is doing the U.S.’s dirty work by persecuting a man who exposed war crimes.”

Vigils and protests in support of Assange were held outside the prison on April 14 and April 15.

The last time Assange was held in a British prison, in 2010, he says that he was given food containing metal objects that severely damaged a tooth. This was at London’s HM Prison WandsworthThe incident caused serious injury and he did not receive proper medical treatment during the six and a half years of  his confinement in the Ecuadorian embassy. A medical report published by WikiLeaks in 2015 describes Assange’s version of the event:

‘This is Unlawful, I’m Not Leaving’

Uniformed British police officers, aided by what appeared to be plain-clothes secret police, had entered the embassy on Thursday morning when the Ecuadorian ambassador “indicated he was preparing to serve upon Mr Assange documentation revoking his asylum,” attorney James Hines, Queens Counsel, who represented the U.S. government, told the court during Assange’s bail-skipping hearing.  The Guardian quoted Hines as later telling the court that day: 

 “Officers tried to introduce themselves to him in order to execute the arrest warrant before he barged past them, attempting to return to his private room.

“He was eventually arrested at 10.15 am. He resisted that arrest, claiming ‘this is unlawful’ and he had to be restrained.

“Officers were struggling to handcuff him. They received assistance from other officers outside and he was handcuffed saying, ‘this is unlawful, I’m not leaving’.

“He was in fact lifted into the police van outside the embassy and taken to West End Central police station.”

Assange was likely referring to the 1951 Convention on Refugees that forbids a nation that has granted someone asylum from returning that person to a country where the asylee is likely to be persecuted.

Police were then filmed forcibly dragging the handcuffed, physically ill Assange from the steps of the embassy. During the arrest, Assange was seen holding a copy of Gore Vidal’s “The History of the National Security State,” as he shouted: “The UK must resist this….the UK must resist.”

Assange's asylum documentation. (Wikileaks via Twitter)

Assange’s asylum documentation. (Wikileaks via Twitter)

Fears of U.S. Mistreatment 

In view of then CIA Director Mike Pompeo’s comparison of WikiLeaks (46:00 minutes into the above video) with Al Qaeda, while calling it a “non-state hostile intelligence service,” concerns are mounting in Assange’s camp about the harsh treatment he may face by British, and if he’s extradited, U.S.  authorities.

In the hours following the arrest, Reuters reported: “Lawyers for Assange said he may risk torture and his life would be in danger if he were to be extradited to the United States.”

On the same day, human-rights organizations and press-freedom advocates argued against the prosecution of the WikiLeaks founder. These groups included the ACLU, The Freedom of the Press Foundation, the Center for Investigative Journalism, Amnesty Ireland, Committee To Protect Journalists, Reporters Without Borders, Human Rights Watch, the Center for Constitutional Rights, the National Union of Journalists, the The Knight First Amendment Institute and Digital Rights Watch.

The Intercept’s Glenn Greenwald was quick to note the widespread mischaracterization of the charge against Assange as one of “hacking,” writing that the charging document and related materials indicate Assange may have attempted to help Chelsea Manning, a U.S. Army whistleblower then known as Bradley Manning, use a different username to access classified material she was legally allowed to access at the time. In other words, Greenwald says Assange is charged with helping a source preserve anonymity, a common practice by investigative reporters.

Greenwald also points out that this action has been on public record since 2011, but that U.S. authorities under the Obama administration refused to use it as a basis of prosecution due to the chill it could put on press freedom.

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UN Visitor

The UN independent expert on the right to privacy, Joe Cannataci, issued a statement following Assange’s arrest.  “This will not stop my efforts to assess Mr. Assange’s claims that his privacy has been violated,” he was quoted by the United Nations’ news service.  “All it means is that, instead of visiting Mr. Assange and speaking to him at the Embassy. I intend to visit him and speak to him wherever he may be detained.” 

Shortly before Assange’s expulsion, UN Special Rapporteur on Torture Nils Melzer expressed alarm at reports that an arrest was imminent. If extradited, Melzer said Assange could be exposed to “a real risk of serious violations of his human rights, including his freedom of expression, his right to a fair trial, and the prohibition of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.”

Assange’s supporters likewise fear for his treatment in Belmarsh. 

Matthew Hoh, a senior fellow with the Center for International Policy and a former Marine, visited Assange at the embassyHe worries about the mistreatment Assange might face in custody. He believes, “When they get their hands on him, they will do things that will be criminal, it will be immoral, it will be torture,” he said during an online Unity4J vigil held days before Assange’s expulsion. 

The online Assange vigils are co-hosted by Consortium News and have been held for over a year, to maintain public awareness about Assange after Ecuador withdrew his internet access.  

Pulitzer-Prize-winning journalist Chris Hedges, during a Unity4J panel,  offered his fear of what he believes will happen to Assange if he is extradited to the United States :

“He will have a hood over his head, he will be shackled and chained, he’ll be put on a black flight, he will be taken to the U.S., put into solitary confinement — which is a form of torture, it is how people break, and often break very quickly. He will be relentlessly interrogated, there will be all sorts of psychological techniques — it will be very hot in his cell and then very cold. They will constantly wake him every few hours so he will be sleep deprived. They will maybe even put him into a dry cell, where there is no water, so he will have to ask for water to go to the bathroom or wash his hands.”

Hedges continued:

“Everyone has a breaking point, and they will attempt to psychologically destroy him, and we have seen with Guantanamo that several of these detainees, most of whom were just sold to the U.S. by warlords in Afghanistan or Pakistan, are emotionally crippled for life. It will be scientific torture. I used to cover the Stasi state in East Germany, and the joke in the Stasi state was that the Gestapo broke bones and the Stasi break minds, and that’s what they’ll do. That’s what will happen. I’ve seen it with Muslims who have been entrapped in the U.S. in so-called terrorism plots, and by the time they shuffle into court, they are a zombie.”

Hedges added: “There will be a veneer of legality:  it will be the figment of law. But he will be treated like all of the people who have been disappeared into that system from around the world.”

Assange supporters outside Belmarsh Prison. (Youtube)

Assange supporters outside Belmarsh Prison. (Youtube)

Micol Savia, representative of the International Association of Democratic Lawyers at the United Nations, drew on Chelsea Manning’s experience of torture in U.S. custody when raising concern that Assange may be likewise abused, writing via Twitter: 

“#Assange’s eventual extradition to the US would expose him to a substantive risk of human rights violations. The likely treatment he would receive can easily be inferred from the unjust trial and detention of [Chelsea Manning] @xychelsea, who faced life in prison and was subjected to torture.”

Elizabeth Vos is a freelance reporter and regular contributor to Consortium News. She co-hosts the #Unity4J online vigil.

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89 comments for “Julian Assange’s Nightmarish Future

  1. Vierotchka
    April 22, 2019 at 18:11

    Belmarsh Prison is also commonly called Hellmarsh Prison.

  2. Rita Lawrence
    April 17, 2019 at 15:18

    Everyone should boycott Equadorian, British and US products and travel.

  3. Mary
    April 16, 2019 at 14:06

    The United States of America is the worst terrorist to hit the face of this earth and we can be assured that Julian will be treated with great hostility and torture while in their custody.. worse that Belmarsh, which is hard to imagine… it will be mental and physical throughout this phony trial .. for what? Well, Washington has been embarrassed, having it’s war crimes exposed and it wants to continue with its invading and decimating countries for their oil.. Assange and Wikileaks have exposed them to citizens all over the world, including their own who are finally are waking up to what their government is really up to! The worst part of all of this is that the people
    can’t do a damn thing about it!
    Julian Assange is a hero, a true hero!
    The US is a immoral rogue country which ignores international laws and should be stopped by any means necessary.

  4. April 16, 2019 at 09:13

    What a tragic happening. The America we grew up in, imperfect as it was, is gone. The foundation of our governance was guided by the Constitution which grew out of a pursuit of justice and common humanity. It now acts as if such a foundation never existed and the law and justice and freedom are what we say they are at the moment.

    That Britain is in lockstep with us is indicated by the following from the article:

    “….the Anti-terrorism, Crime and Security Act of 2001, passed six weeks after 9/11, until the House of Lords ruled it violated the British Human Rights Act.”

    It was truly amazing how fast our Homeland Security Act was presented and passed as if it was pre packaged. That Britain followed so quickly makes it even more suspicious.

    At the time of the passage of our act, I remember how eerie the word homeland seemed, like something out of a George Orwell novel. It may have seemed eerie at the time but it is descriptive of the present state of our “justice” system.

    • DW Bartoo
      April 16, 2019 at 12:47

      Herman, we have, we USians, all been taught to believe many myths about our “Founding Fathers” and their benign concerns for the many, their intent that the Republic (“If you can keep it. ” as Benjamin Franklin, who was not, we are told, all that impressed with what had been wrought) was to be based on a rule of law firmly under the control of of the elite who sought to see that the unruly mob, those same many, would be kept from meaningful power, which would be assured by a Senate that would be selected by the governors of the states from among the property-owning gentry.

      Here is Noam Chomsky, in his book, “The Responsibility of Intellectuals”, quoting the words of Gordon Wood, an historian well worth reading:

      ‘” … (The Constitution is) intrinsically an aristocratic document designed to check the democratic tendencies of the period,’ by delivering power to ‘a better sort of people’ and barring those who were not rich, well-born, or prominent from exercising political power.”

      Now, certain small inroads have been made, toward changing some aspects of that control, the Electiral College being a control not yet modified or removed.

      There were those, and Thomas Paine comes readily to mind who advocated, even before the War of Independence, for the capacity of the Common Sense of the engaged (and empowered) many to succeed at true self-determination and the control of their own, United and common destiny. That vision has yet to become manifest and, given the likely trajectory of this nation, as its military empire crumbles and its vassal stated break free, it is unlikely to do so under the current form of society as it is now constituted even if the many hold sacred a Constutution designed to always thwart the popular will, if for no other reason than that the rule of law is a fiction and the law is, always, far too easily subverted to the interests of great wealth, as indeed has been the case throughout the entire history of this nation. Consider, for example, how corporations became (fictitious) persons under the law, “a very strange and appalling tale”, as one of my Constitutionsl Law professors most aptly put it.

      Or ponder the consequences arising from the Citizens United decision of SCOTUS,

      Or the ready willingness of FISA court judges to accept the Steele dossier as “evidence” sufficient to allow official spying on Trump and company. Whatever you may think of Trump, the easy travesty of nonchalant acceptance by those judges implies a deep and corrosive corruption of reason and conscience among those charged with adjudicating “justice” and determining what behaviors are “legal” and appropriate.

      We all now know that torture was not the work “of a few bad apples” but was deliberate policy, developed and directed by legal counsel at the White House.

      What legal consequence has befallen ANY involved in that sorry chapter?

      Consider who now heads the CIA.

      What of the bankers who committed fraud and greviously harmed civil society and millions of individual human beings,

      They were not held to any account, rather they were rewarded and any statutory consequence has long past its Cinderella hour.

      Can we fix what had never really worked in the interest of the many?

      Or is it already “fixed” beyond repair or revival?

      For those who find history too daunting, might I suggest Gore Vidal’s historical novels as a relatively painless way to gain familiarity with and insight into the true history of this nation, not the hagiographic pablum dished out to students in the public school systems?

      We are at the point where public discussion ought “to proffer new ideas, encourage deep thinking, challenge norms, and model forms of debate that enrich our discourse”, in the words of Mychal Denzel Smith.

      We need, of dire necessity, to think beyond the constraining boxes of convention, outside of the limits of “kettled” and polite notions to embrace the very likely possibility that we must erect new and considered forms of government, of a truly participatory democracy, not one of easily bought “representation” and elite domination.

      We just might have to muster the courage and fortitude to make many changes,

      What shall we keep and what new foundations must we build upon?

      That is a question for each and every one of us, not the self-selected elite who claim to be “the adults in the room”

      Our future should not be hostage to those who would “rule”, who desire to be “in charge”.

      If humanity is to survive, then it is not wise to say, “In God We Trust”, but rather, “It Is Up To Us”.

      • Skip Scott
        April 17, 2019 at 07:45

        I suspect that first a small portion of humanity will have to survive a coming catastrophe, either from war or environmental collapse. After that, I believe those survivors will have to learn to cooperate rather than compete, and that small cohesive communities will start anew. I doubt it will be the latte-sippers or technical specialists who survive. It will more likely be rural folks that are more “jack of all trades” types that know how to grow and find food, and live simply. Probably similar to the indigenous “tribes” of yesteryear.

        I hope that a spiritual revolution results from the lessons learned. It would be great if we could muster the power to change without all the suffering that will result from catastrophe, but looking honestly at the world today it is hard to be that optimistic.

        • DW Bartoo
          April 17, 2019 at 13:20

          Short of the existential calamities, aggressive wars “of choice” that morph, by accident or design into nuclear Armageddon, or an environment that degraded to the point of becoming inimical to human existence, I consider that the next, inevitable, economic crisis, however it might be used to benefit those causing it, will allow those will genuinely practical skills to become recognized as the real backbone or “creators” of society, just as you envision.

          That may permit the kinds of things you and I are urging be considered, reason, tolerance, and understanding among them, to be seen as not simply desirable but fundamentally necessary to communal survival, to human survival.

          I am little given to empty hopeyness, yet do suspect that actual capacity, the ability to do, make, build, and repair things will, of necessity, come to be valued simply because, otherwise, very little will still function and bluntly, we will be scratching out a “living” in conditions not too dissimilar to the results of the wars we export with such reckless abondon.

          Transportation and power transmission will likely become sporadic or even break down entirely.

          As you allude, good gathering will require far more than reusable, non-disposable shopping bags.

          A good friend of mine who is well versed in electrical engineering at levels far beyond my ability to comprehend, yet who prefers to work as a mechanic of rare skill (he is also a story-teller) who can entrance young and old alike with tales that seem fantastic, using animals and even inanimate “things” to bring home truths that might otherwise never be pondered) and he laments the undeniable fact that people use devices of all sorts where the push a button, or pull a lever, a shift a gear without the slightest notion of how that happens or what goes on behind the control panel.

          The highly educated idiot syndrome.

          Yet lived experience has a way of education, of developing a subtlety of understanding, even at the broadest and deepest of conceptual levels that many who the elite regard as “deplorable”, are actually comprehending on levels that the “meritorious” cannot only not grasp, but cannot even imagine.

          We do have little time, on many fronts, Skip Scott, and we may well not succeed in building alternative societies that can change the dynamics of absurdity and destruction.

          However, I am heartened that increasing numbers of human beings are choosing to do, and be, the necessary steps toward sanity and conscious humanity.

          It may, and likely will not be my generation, the Boomers, who will wholeheartedly embrace the courage and selfless dedication these times require, but I am seeing more human beings than ever before who grasp the essential and needful truth of things as they are and are determined to seek and build a more sane and humane human society.

          I must count that as progress, and all of us who have long striven to encourage that first, even faltering step, can take some satisfaction in urging on the next.


      • April 23, 2019 at 03:02

        Recently Paul Ross of the Australian Citizens Dividend Organisation published the most persuasive argument I’ve seen in favour of a UBI. This is not a really new idea. For example my late husband Lewis Blayse advocated for it before the Queensland Election 1989. If hunger and homelessness could be eliminated, society may begin to move in the right direction.


  5. DW Bartoo
    April 16, 2019 at 01:50

    Paineite, I do not doubt that there are intellectuals of merit. Indeed I have had the privilege if knowing quite a few,

    My criticism is about the quality of education available to the many.

    Perhaps you imagine that there is some form of intellectual tradition in this nation. Once, there may well have been that possibility.

    You do not, as you say know me,

    I am of a family that has long valued genuine education, for generations my family members have been teachers and professors. I count myself very fortunate to have grown up surrounded by thoughtful, caring, articulate, and even charismatic teachers, all of whom valued and appreciated books, books filled libraries in my parent’s, grandparent’s, and great grandparent’s homes and I regarded those books as treasures.

    When I was eight years of age, my father got me a library card at the unversity where he taught, and I will always remember the motto above doorway to that huge and wondrous repository of wisdom. It read, “The true university is a collection of books”.

    I assumed, as a child that most everyone, certainly all of my young friends and I had access to books and scintillating conversations with parents and friends if parents who were professors.

    Of course, I soon realized that many if not most people did not have that ready access to ideas and books and the encouragement to ask questions, which must always be the basis of all learning.

    I had the tail-end of an almost classical education, some sixty-five odd years ago.

    Later, I had the opportunity of observing the educational experience at a university considered among several of the most prestigious in this nation. Attendance at that place, where “Truth” was held to be of central importance, virtually guaranteed entry into the highest reaches of government, of finance, of the law, of economics, of history, and even of philosophy and the social sciences.

    However, and this may shock you, far too many graduates of that university, even those obtaining advanced degrees have, in my opinion, been among those who have visited some of the worst harm on this nation and the world. Graduates of that university have sat in the White House, have run rapacious financial institutions, have promulgated policies that have led to perpetual war, the routine destruction of the environment, and of society itself.

    Further, as these depredations were unfolding, faculties at universities across this nation were silent, were unwilling to risk questioning blatant idiocies of war, including sending the young of the nation into harm’s way, in Korea, in Vietnam, and in the Middle East, even to this very day. Professors not only excused violent resource plunder, they wrote about it as necessity. If you have ever read George F. Kennan’s 1948 policy paper stating that, as six percent of the world’s population, the US must control at least fifty percent of the world’s resources and not be squeamish about the violence that would require, then you will have some idea about what I consider to be intellectual betrayal.

    Think of John Yoo who infamously penned the justification for torture.
    He now has tenure and great respect at a certain university of the left coast.

    When George W. Bush made his “You are either with us or against us,” threat to those opposing the war in Iraq not one learned professor, either of the law or of English, at any university in this nation dared stand up and say, “That phrase IS the classic wording of the fallacious argument, known in the Latin as Argumentum ad baculum, or argument with a big stick, it is a threat and its sole purpose is to end debate or discussion, it is a dishonest attempt to intimidate and silence. It is both cowardly and arrogant”.

    Perhaps it does not seem to you appropriate that professors or grad students ought feel some obligation, as a result of their privilege of education, for that is what education is, now, a privilege and a rather costly one at that, to dare question authority?

    My field of interest is psychology, so I am most unhappy that two learned psychologists, Mitchell and Jesson, divised and supervised the torture program, making a good deal of money in the process as well as being rewarded with a perpetual get-out-of-jail card for what I regard as crimes against humanity and a perversion of psychological insights, not to heal or help, but to harm, hurt, and destroy.

    Now, I may have missed it, but I do not recall university communities expressing outrage about torture OR the role that “educated” psychologists had or “played” in that torture.

    As the majority of US citizens have been plunged into precarious financial straits, the result of the financial elite playing fast and loose, committing what really can only be described as massive fraud, and then being rewarded for so doing by politicians, including a President, who attended the very best universities, several more or less on the right coast, I have found the silence pouring out of economics departments and certain Business schools, one of which my father taught at, suggesting to his students that genuine ethics had to be part of honest business practice. Advice obviously ignored when later professors at that same school preached “Greed is Good” to ears obviously pleased to have an excuse for extraction that had taken all of five hundred years to fashion and successfully sell.

    Recall that, when hundreds of thousands of “blue collar” jobs were “outsourced”, there were no questions raised by academicians, no concerns about what it would mean to those who lost their jobs, as well as the effect that jobs loss would have on families and communities. In the rust belt there are many “sacrifice zones”, think of Detroit or Flint, or Johnstown or hundreds of other cities and towns.

    What was the “solution”?

    Why, go back to school, learn computer programming.

    Most of that “retraining” turned out to be useless.

    Think of the “gig” economy.

    Think of the many universities employing “adjuncts” who receive meager wages for the noble act of teaching. Perhaps this goes on at your university?

    You may have noticed that tenure “tracks” are disappearing like old railroad lines.

    Frankly, while the people of this nation and democracy itself have been savaged, universities have distinguished themselves, all too often, either with seeking to justify the harm or simply ignoring it.

    Perhaps you have the rare good fortune to be affiliated with an institution at the forefront of academic involvement with the larger society?

    I certainly hope so.

    Does your university have those who are willing to debate and expose the right-wing spokespersons, or does your university say, “we will not invite a discussion because the controversy might put certain members of our community at risk”!

    I certainly hope not, I hope your university has able debaters, perhaps you are one, who can stand and debate most successfully those calling for violence and exclusion, for barriers and scapegoating those who bear no responsibility for the economic conditions of those displaced by greed and avarice among the elites, the 1% and the political class which serve them.

    Too often universities appear to be more interested in the profitability of sports programs over the quality of education they provide the young,

    Right now, I would suggest that universities which are simply instructing the young to be replacement cogs for a failing and failed political economy, a crumbling military empire, and a profit-driven carceral state are failing the young and not even considering the tools and understandings the young will need to right the grave injustice and harm now being done.

    Will brick and mortar institutions of “higher learning”, as currently constituted, be of any real value to the future?

    A number of very learned professors have long suggested that learning will become dispersed and ubiquitously available outside the ivy covered ivory towers and, unless universities choose to become centers of innovation and actual capacity, no longer behaving as oases of specialization, apart from the prople around them and indifferent to the collapse of civil society, but as concerned and active participants in healing a fractured and abused population, universities, as we now know them will cease to exist excepting the most exclusive and costly.

    I suspect you will regard what I have shared as being nonsense.

    Hoever, true teachers always realize that their knowledge may be likened to a small mud puddle, while their ignorance is akin to the ocean.

    True wisdom happily admits that it might learn something new, even in the most unlikely of places, or from the most unprepossessing of beings.

    When academia is not curious, when it cares not to see and to seek to understand what is going on around it, it becomes stilted.

    Indifference is not a virtue and, as Howard Zinn pointed out, one cannot be neutral on a moving train.

    That you have taken umbrage with my words suggests that you have noticed.

    There might be other things, going on, that will catch and, perhaps, even hold your attention.

    Thank you for responding.

    I wish you well in your journey of comprehension and compassion.

    • Skip Scott
      April 16, 2019 at 09:19

      What a great comment DW! Thank you for sharing your personal history. The failures of academia have been rife in recent decades, and no one has the money to “waste” on a liberal arts education anymore. It is one of the key factors leading to the corruption of our entire society. Major universities have been taken over by the forces of empire, and those who dare to speak out are instantly threatened with expulsion now that the “tenure tracks” have been mostly removed. The universities’ job has been redefined as supplying the empire with minions with the proper skill sets to do their bidding.

      • Realist
        April 16, 2019 at 17:35

        Skip, having spent my entire working life in higher education (not in the Ivies or other private schools but in some of the most prestigious state flagship institutions across the country) I can say with great assurance that academia has been transmogrified into a mirror image of corporate America, where the primary mission now seems to be raking in as much money as possible to line the pockets of the ever-expanding administrative class, i.e., “management.” It used to be that university administrators were recruited internally from the rank and file professoriate, with a modest enhancement to their regular salary for the service function they were to perform. So, back in the day (the 60’s or 70’s) a university president, chancellor or provost might be expected to make no more than a low 6-figure wage. Today, such top officials are recruited mostly from corporate America and are compensated millions of dollars. Of course, their increasing legions of associate- or vice-this or that subordinate administrators are also recruited from the economic elites and compensated amounts often totalling the combined incomes of several full professors.

        Alongside these academic administrators (whose major focus is supposed to be overseeing the degree programs, the research programs, and scholarship activities of the faculty), major universities have also seen the proliferation of administrative offices dedicated to minority recruitment, affirmative action, conflict resolution, management of student housing and recreational programs, and (quite notably) information processing services, in which entire computer networks now have to be developed to facilitate not only academic and research functions but public relations with government and the entire rest of the outside world. Every dollar which is rigorously fund-raised by faculty, administrators or university lobbyists in Washington or the state capital, must be scrupulously accounted for… at least nominally. [Side note: It used to be that to survive in Academia, one had to “publish or perish.” For the past 25 years at least, the new rule has been successfully “fund raise or perish.”] For this massive undertaking, the geeks administering this function in our brave new university also receive up to 7-figure incomes.

        All these new layers of administrative functions, which are compensated at levels beyond the wildest dreams of any other university employees (except perhaps the football and basketball coaches) have driven up costs exponentially even as tenure-track positions are cut back and replaced with “adjuncts” basically working for slave wages, but without even the benefits that slaves might have received–such as medical care. This massive new cash cow for the well-connected has only come at the expense of the shrinking tenured faculty (whose average income, like everyone else, has not increased in adjusted dollars since the 1970’s), the ersatz faculty (i.e., the adjuncts), and the students now required to take out massive loans to pay for the relentlessly increasing tuitions.

        The state governments, stuck in their own fiscal death spirals due to endless deficit spending, have long ago stopped trying to counter escalating costs from their general revenue funds. They’ve passed the buck on to the kids and their parents, making banks and loan companies very happy and wealthy. People think that Bernie Sanders was a crazy man when he said that this country should strive to make higher education free–as it is in Europe. Well, guess what? It used to be free (or just nominal) in most states of this union not that long ago. Most Boomers should be able to remember this. The University of California system was entirely tuition-free until Governor Ronald Reagan imposed such payments back in the early 1970’s. I remember this well because I was doing research and teaching medical students at one of the UC campuses when it happened.

        I swear to you, this was not a dream. The state of Illinois had built several entirely new campuses to accommodate my generation back in the 60’s, and the fees charged to the students (many of whom were awarded scholarships by the state) were just a few hundred bucks for the entire year. I paid nothing (zero dollars) for my entire course of higher education. The state ponied up for my B.S., and the feds paid the whole tab through my Ph.D. This was commonplace back then (during the 60’s and 70’s).

        This has become an entirely different country in the interim, sweethearts; one which only knows how to take from the working class to give to the rich. Bernie a “socialist?” Pshaw! He isn’t even a staunch New Dealer or a dyed-in-the-wool union man. Meanwhile, throughout that “Long Long Ago” this country was spending money building the interstates, fighting a war in Vietnam, stockpiling a nuclear arsenal beyond comprehension, and putting a man on the Moon. Now it claims (as do the individual states for their corresponding plans) that it cannot keep the promises made to maintain Medicare and Social Security, as Obama was always looking for an opening to make the “Grand Bargain” with the GOPers. Somebody robbed this country blind, and they did it in broad daylight without the vaunted “mainstream media” saying a peep about it or the consequences. To “the press” it was just routine political shenanigans and headlines that might sell a newspaper, nothing more. You know, nothing to really rant about, like Putin, Assad, Kim or Maduro.

        • Skip Scott
          April 17, 2019 at 08:00

          Thanks Realist. I do remember that there was a small peep from the MSM. Bartlett and Steele wrote a series for the Philadelphia Inquirer titled “America, What went Wrong” that laid it all out. The problem is nothing was done about it.


        • DW Bartoo
          April 17, 2019 at 09:59

          Well and truly said.

          Very much appreciated, Realist.

      • DW Bartoo
        April 17, 2019 at 10:21

        Skip Scott, I also much appreciate what you have revealed about yourself and your experiences.

        Years ago, I knew a publisher in New York who was a most remarkable women of learning, genuine culture, and true refinement.

        Her partner was a member of the Merchant Marine, not “educated” in the formal sense, but among the most well-read, erudite, deep, compassionate, and kindly of human beings whom I have ever met.

        Autodidacts, as he was, are some of the most inspiring intellects it has ever been my great good fortune to encounter, and I have had the true privilege of knowing several.

        All have shared the gift, or intentionally developed skill or habit of cultural openish and the easy acceptance, and appreciation, of “difference”, not perceived as a threat, but cherished as a treasure.

        I think that the measure of all true intellectuals, along with undying curiosity and benevolence of spirit.

        I have had the wonderful pleasure of encountering a number of such beings.

        I count you, very much, among them.

        • Skip Scott
          April 17, 2019 at 11:38

          Thank you for your kind words. It is quite a community we have here at CN. I value it as a respite from our propagandized and “info-tained” society. Thanks for being here.

    • April 16, 2019 at 12:09

      Thank you. I do think we need better terms than right wing and left wing. At least on foreign policy it would be a strange looking bird which, due to the different sizes of the right and left wings, would continuously fly in a tight circle and going nowhere. I take your points that education should teach us to think independently, search for the truth and provide a forum to discuss what it is.

      I don’t think for a myriad of reasons that is happening and if we are create a society of right and left persons, I find those who choose to call themselves the left more intolerant than those they label as the right, which in their minds seems to be everybody but them. Personally, I find that kind of smug labeling destructive and a barrier to free and open dialogue.

      I liked your article.

  6. April 16, 2019 at 00:23

    Australia must support our citizen back to his home

    • Nick barnes
      April 22, 2019 at 09:51

      I agree wholeheartedly and as soon as possible. So many Australians have begged for Consular assistance in the past and it has always been a drama for that help to arrive. In particular I was remembering our other journalist Peter Grieste
      It is election time yet again when the politicians ask to be re-elected into a job but I think we should vote only for those who have stood up for WikiLeaks and Mr Assange during this time.
      We all know about the war crimes but if we bring Mr Assange home we won’t have blood on our hands again.
      Are we Australians or American ? We have an Australian diplomat in London now perhaps he can save Assange who did nothing but bring truth to the world – never forget the Collateral Murder scenes of children and journalists in the crosshairs of US helicopter guns

  7. Realist
    April 15, 2019 at 22:16

    The U.S. constitution specifically prohibits cruel or unusual punishment, yet our penal system begins the administration of what can be considered nothing other than torture long before a trial or its verdict is ever delivered. Moreover we fool ourselves into believing that such treatment of human beings is allowable if conducted outside our borders, in places like Guantanamo (under our own claimed jurisdiction) or deep inside dungeons of vassal states or even in countries declared enemy states whose arms we have shamelessly twisted to do our dirty work. Britain is no better than Egypt and other hell holes to whom we have rendered other unfortunates we want broken or destroyed by amoral goons with a talent for imposing pain and suffering. What hypocrisy and outrage perpetrated in our name. They used to do these things in secret, but no longer care who on earth now knows of their sadistic actions against humanity and the constitution they purposely fail to uphold.

    • DW Bartoo
      April 16, 2019 at 09:33

      Well and truly said, Realist.

      And very much appreciated.

  8. Laurens
    April 15, 2019 at 20:08

    So anyone believe they will stoop as low as somehow pushing Assange’s actions into the terror domain at some point? I know it has been inferred at times, and that WL’s financial problems didn’t fall out of the sky – but does anyone believe that could still happen?

    Just been wondering about that.

  9. Joe Wallace
    April 15, 2019 at 18:22

    Oh, wait. Now I get it. The U.S. government characterizes Wikileaks as “a non-state hostile intelligence agency” because it tells the truth about what the government is doing. And, as everyone knows, the truth is inimical to the proper operation of government. Why weren’t we taught this in civics class?

  10. April 15, 2019 at 17:38

    President Trump is on record for saying he will use torture on those detained – and the administration has characterized whistleblowers as terrorists.

    We are back to medieval times.

  11. Joe Wallace
    April 15, 2019 at 17:30

    The U.S. government describes Wikileaks as “a non-state hostile intelligence agency.” In what way, I wonder, is telling the truth about what our government is doing hostile to the people, who are the ultimate stewards of our republic? Does the government function properly only when the people are kept in the dark?

  12. Donald Duck
    April 15, 2019 at 17:03

    Being a devotee of American jazz and blues music here is the great, unfortunately late, Mose Allison, jazz/blues singer, pianist, composer, which is a pretty good description of the US today.

    I don’t believe the things I’m seein’
    I’ve been wonderin’ ’bout some things I’ve heard
    Everybody’s crying mercy
    When they don’t know the meaning of the word

    A bad enough situation
    Is sure enough getting worse
    Everybody’s crying justice
    Just as soon as there’s business first

    Toe to toe, touch and go
    Give a cheer and get your own souvenir

    Well you know the people running round in circles
    Don’t know what they’re headed for
    Everybody’s crying peace on earth
    Just as soon as we win this war

    Straight ahead, gotta knock em dead
    So pack your kit, choose your own hypocrite

    You don’t have to go to off-Broadway
    To see something plain absurd

    Everybody’s crying mercy
    When they don’t know the meaning of the word
    Nobody knows the meaning of the word

  13. Donald Duck
    April 15, 2019 at 16:56

    The United States ruling elites seem to have morphed into some sort of political mafia.
    As I recall there was a particular scene in the Godfather film. A conversation between Michael Corleone (Al Pacino) and his wife Kay (Diane Keaton)

    Kay is the innocent ingenue, Michael is the Realist

    Michael: ‘’My father is just a powerful man who helps people. He’s just like a Sentator or President.’’

    Kay: ‘’Don’t be naïve Michael. Senators and presidents don’t have people killed!’’

    Michael: Now who’s being naive, Kay?

    Sounds about right as a description of the present political dispensation in the US.

  14. ron
    April 15, 2019 at 15:06

    Assange is only guilty of telling the truth – something the us/uk regimes know nothing about and live in fear of. The arrogance and criminal turpitude of the parliamentarians in the uk is now clearly in sight. Indeed 70 MPs have signed a letter to the Home Secretary claiming Sweden should have first go at Assange on the grounds of sexual crime and rape – these MPs are the same ones denying the British people departure from the corrupt eu.

    Those who you think might know better – the lying media – are enjoying the thrill unaware of what outcomes there may be for them – it is chilling and depressing but we cannot let the elites win – we have to stand up

  15. Weniger Gottquatsch
    April 15, 2019 at 15:00

    Good analysis of the Assange rendition story.

  16. Litchfield
    April 15, 2019 at 14:24

    The “Assange and other whistleblowers are cowards” meme has really penetrated deep in the minds of the American press. Even the UN and NYT statements regarding the legal mistreatment of Assange and the dangerous precedents being set by the persecution of him as both a journalist and a human being with human rights.

    A very prominent, well-known journalist and author who has, I believe, won the Pulitzer Prize for her reporting and writing, wrote to me personally regarding Assange:

    “but I’ll just say that Assange is an adult, and he knew that what he was doing would have consequences, and now he doesn’t want to face them. I respect civil disobedience but this isn’t that. Peace, [name]

    I was shocked to read this from the pen of a highly intelligent woman who has been covering legal issues at a high level throughout her career. I can only think that her mind has been bent by the sorry-ass Swedish charges.

    Furthermore, I don’t think it is “civil disobedience” that Assange has been practicing, but rather, staying alive while under attack from the US National Security State. I also have a hard time crediting that a practicing journalist (although not an investigative journalist) would fail to “get” the relationship of Assange’s activities to those of her own newspaper, and others. I pray that these and other such words and sentiments regarding Assange will come back to haunt her. (As for the “peace” sign-off, I have had it with this particular form of sanctimoniousness.)

  17. Paineite
    April 15, 2019 at 14:05

    I don’t know you, DW Bartoo, but it has been my experience that those who believe that higher education is “controlled” and “filtered” and that you won’t get the “true story” of the history of the USA and world in a graduate program are those who never themselves completed a graduate program in history, poli-sci, or related fields. My experience is exactly the contrary of your statement: my professors (and I my self) were *dedicated* to the truth and great REVEALERS (revelators) of the truth. It may be true to say that they would have a hard time getting tenure TODAY — I don’t know, but suspect that is true and a great reseason to defend tenure — but I believe you ought to temper your criticisms of academe; in my view they are demonstrably fallacious and diminish your credibility. Why in the hell do you think it is that Right-wing leaders FEAR and DESPISE academia as much as they do. It is precisely because they fear that their children will learn the truth.

  18. Zenobia van Dongen
    April 15, 2019 at 13:50

    Hedges writes of “Muslims who have been entrapped in the U.S. in so-called terrorism plots”. There have been a few cases of entrapment (perhaps a dozen) in the US, but most of the terrorism cases are brought against people who freely decided to commit terrorist acts. In many cases they were enticed into committing terrorist acts by the police, but that is not the same thing as entrapment. Offering someone the opportunity to commit an act is not entrapment if he is rational and is free to refuse.
    Using such methods is justified if it is used on people who have been previously identified or have identified themselves as likely to commit terrorist acts on their own, for example by adherence to violent doctrines. It’s a way of preemptively triggering an act in a controlled environment instead of letting the extremist decide by himself when to commit it.
    Mr. Hedges has a long history of excusing or denying demonstrated acts of terrorism committed by Muslims. For example, he fatuously claimed that the blind sheikh, Omar abdur Rahman, was imprisoned solely because he was a poor Muslim in an Islamophobe country, namely the US, while in fact he was the founder and leader of a vicious Egyptian terrorist organization, Gamaat el Islamiya, which among other things murdered about 60 tourists at Luxor in 1997, disemboweling the women and inserting holy writing into their abdominal cavities. Abdur Rahman was in New York City because he was the chief financial officer of Al Qaeda, but he did some moonlighting as a hate preacher and a terrorist operative, and was involved in the bombing of the World Trade Center in 1993. That caper was what earned him his life sentence.

    • April 15, 2019 at 23:08

      @ “There have been a few cases of entrapment (perhaps a dozen) in the US, but most of the terrorism cases are brought against people who freely decided to commit terrorist acts. ”

      That’s quite a stretch. True, there were court decisions that in all cases of conviction there was no entrapment. But that points to a subjectivity problem with the legal standard, not its objectivity. In a very great number of cases, law enforcement sought out and targeted people with severe mental illness and low intelligence, enticing them to commit crimes they would otherwise never have committed. And thus the FBI and other agencies have maintained astronomical counter-terrorism law enforcement budgets.

      In my book, law enforcement should never be permitted to entice people to c0mmit a crime. It is antithetical to the purpose of law enforcement. And the only thing that separates the enticer from the enticed is the law enforcement official’s immunity; that official is still factually guilty of conspiracy to commit the crime.

      • DW Bartoo
        April 16, 2019 at 09:43

        Thank you for laying out the truth of things, Paul.

        I appreciate the nuanced and penetrating analyses invariably contained in your comments, as you delve deeply below the shallow and inculcated perceptions of many who do not even realize that their opinions are manipulated and too often reflect a jingoistic embrace of official cant and authoritarian jargon, rather than critical thought and careful research.

  19. Republicofscotland
    April 15, 2019 at 11:42

    Assange will end on the wrong side of the court at EDVA, with Leonie Brinkma at the helm. The Star Chamber will mostly likely convict Assange on some trumped up charges.

    Which will allow this senator to add, Democratic Senator Joe Manchin told CNN that they are “going to extradite him. It will be really good to get him back on United States soil. So now he’s our property and we can get the facts and truth from him.” to do as they please with Assange.

    Will Britain hand him over to the US, and hammer another nail into the coffin of the freedom to publish? Of course they will.

  20. mike k
    April 15, 2019 at 09:55

    The brutality of the Fascist Empire is on clear display now. Those who support it or refuse to see it are complicit in it’s happening. The mental state of the majority of the British and American public is disgusting. It is their cowardly zombiehood which is destroying the world.

    • mike k
      April 15, 2019 at 12:17

      Wake up people you are living in 1984! What will it take for you to realize that? When the sadistic storm troopers of your police state come to drag you out of your supposedly safe refuge, will you still be asleep? Do you still think that playing along with this ugly government will buy you safety? Are you just too scared to wake up to the truth of the fascist nightmare you are living in?

  21. AnneR
    April 15, 2019 at 09:33

    Thank you Ms Vos for this important but terrible account of what Mr Assange is and likely will be facing, if the UK (and European) courts bend to US pressure (always assuming that he is not spirited away on a black flight before his “case” is fully fought, a possibility I wouldn’t put past the execrable, immoral, unethical May and her government/party).

    Mr Assange has already suffered solitary confinement, especially once the criminal Moreno took power. More time in such, with further deprivations and mind-bending techniques, which the Brits and the Amis have been developing over the decades (while the Stasi may have provided some pointers, most tuition came from compliant, unethical native psychologists and psychiatrists who also directly aide and abet the various government agencies and workers involved in detaining and imprisoning and torturing people), will Mr Assange have seriously deleterious effects on his mind’s ability to cope more quickly.

    Now is surely a time – along with so many other internationally criminal acts, past and present, unethical and immoral stances – for the rest of the world (including Russia and China and India) to impose economic and travel sanctions on the UK and US.

    • Hank
      April 15, 2019 at 10:08

      The USA’s two major political parties are currently prepping for the next Presidential election. I’m sure Assange has material hidden that would SINK both parties when the time is right. The problem is always the behemoth USA mainstream media, which is nothing more than a corporate/government propaganda mouthpiece! Not until enough Americans see the criminal conflict-of-interest nature of the media will any real pressure be brought to bear upon US leaders.

      • Joe Tedesky
        April 15, 2019 at 10:43

        Hank when you mentioned ‘hidden material’ it reminded me of the late Rolling Stone reporter Michael Hastings and to whatever it was he was working on at the time before his tragic death. I sure hope Julian Assange has a better outcome than Hastings did. Joe

        • Skip Scott
          April 15, 2019 at 11:31

          I have heard that Hastings was working on a hit piece about John Brennan at the time of his “accident” vault VII style.

          • Joe Tedesky
            April 15, 2019 at 12:05

            I heard the same thing. People better wake up our freedoms are being loss by the score. With 36 journalists in Australia facing trial beings they supposedly ignored a gag order over the case of Cardinal Pell abusing children it makes one wonder to just exactly what a free press is for. If I were talented writer I’d write about all of the restrictions and punishments of journalist that would be mind blowing if captured in one article…. maybe this will inspire the right writer to do so. Take care Skip. Joe

          • Nome
            April 15, 2019 at 12:30

            Hastings was working on an expose of Gen. Stanley McCrystal, no John Brennan. (Not that it really matters, other than–to my knowledge–Brennan may not deserve the reputation McCrystal earned for himself.

          • Skip Scott
            April 15, 2019 at 14:17


            Rolling Stone had already published the McChrystal piece when Hastings was killed. He was working on a similar hit piece on John Brennan when he suffered his fatal “accident”. And don’t kid yourself, Brennan is pure evil. The reality is worse than his reputation. RussiaGate was his “baby”.


        • rosemerry
          April 15, 2019 at 13:11

          I remember how Hastings’ death in a terrible fire in his new Mercedes which the Mercedes company declared could NOT have happened by “accident”,and the extremely small amount of information ever released about the case, and the fear on his partner when she was questioned.

          None of Wikileaks exposures, all true, have been found to have caused the death of anyone, but that has not stopped the lies of the USA/UK authorities whose actions leading to deaths in wars and invasions keeps rising.

        • Anonymous
          April 15, 2019 at 17:41

          Somehow the motor blew out of his Mercedes before it crashed. His family for some reason requested no questions be asked.

      • April 15, 2019 at 23:12

        @ “I’m sure Assange has material hidden that would SINK both parties when the time is right.”

        See https://www.rt.com/news/456441-insurance-files-assange-wikileaks/

  22. Joe Tedesky
    April 15, 2019 at 08:25

    Thinking about the torture that Assange is possibly experiencing seriously drives my mind into a state of depression. To think that Assange is being treated harshly all because he provided the public with the truth about what their government was up too is a slap on the face to not only truthful journalists but it’s a crushing blow also to all informed voters. Let’s not kid ourselves the anger over Assange in the USA isn’t due to Assange helping Manning with a password but no the angry mob is pissed because Hillary loss. That Assange should suffer all because he tried to warn us about Hillary’s skullduggery is pathetic and cruel. If no other group should defend Assange it should be us Bernie supporters. As the modern movie generated saying goes ‘you can’t handle the truth’ you could modify that too say ‘America doesn’t want to handle the truth’. May Julian Assange find the strength to survive his detention and may he find justice to be on his side in the end.

    • Nathan Mulcahy
      April 15, 2019 at 09:09

      If Bernie supporters are so supportive of Assange then why isn’t Bernie himself taking the lead? Or does he always have to be pushed and dragged to do the right things?

      Maybe I missed something, but so far the only two Dems who have supported Assange are Tulsi and Khanna. Even then, these supports were rather muted.

      • Joe Tedesky
        April 15, 2019 at 10:27

        Nathan you introduced a key ingredient that belongs in the mix and that is Bernie should come out in defense of Assange. I should also have mentioned that. I should not have forgot Tulsi who defended Assange either… thanks for your comment t it means a lot. Joe

        • Eddie
          April 15, 2019 at 12:20

          The Green Party’s Jill Stein and Howie Hawkins have spoken out against these atrocities against Assange and Chelsea Manning.

          • DW Bartoo
            April 16, 2019 at 09:49

            That is good to hear, Eddie, as one hoped (and expected) would be so.

            Might you have links to these comments?

            As we all know, the US corporate media ignore or vilify the Greens even as the Legacy Party, with its two right-wings, exclude these voices from the “official” debate.

          • Laurens
            April 16, 2019 at 11:56

            It’s interesting how the Greens are nearly invisible in most media around the world (afaics).

            When Stein had her little run-in with the senate committee there was literally zero word on it in the Dutch media.

        • April 16, 2019 at 01:23

          Bernie will most probably not
          say anything about this disgusting
          overreaching abuse of U.S power.
          The man knows it all too well after witnessing it most of his life.
          He is after all a participant and
          with another shot at the presidency I wouldn’t bet on it.
          Much to my dismay although the
          DNC and the republicans will never abide any social democracy.

  23. Nathan Mulcahy
    April 15, 2019 at 08:23

    I’d very much appreciate any suggestions on how to “safely” donate to Assange’s legal defense. I am afraid that the government might go after those who do so. Yes, I am AFRAID. Any suggestions?

    “When the people fear their government, there is tyranny; when the government fears the people, there is liberty” – Thomas Jefferson

    • April 15, 2019 at 12:20

      Don’t be afraid Nathan. I’m going to redouble my efforts to speak out against this madness. All we have to lose is our chains.

  24. Sally Snyder
    April 15, 2019 at 08:20

    Here are some interesting comments about WikiLeaks and Julian Assange by current Secretary of State Mike Pompeo:


    Mr. Assange’s fate was sealed once Mike Pompeo had the power to destroy him.

    • AnneR
      April 15, 2019 at 09:38

      One wonders if Pomposity was installed in his present position for this very purpose (perhaps even more so than for his other MIC, religious fanaticism propensities re: Iran and Israel)? After all Obama was stalled – by the Constitution (because unlike the present admin who flout it every chance they get, he knew to play the game softly, softly) – but I doubt that he was overly happy about that barrier.

      • rosemerry
        April 15, 2019 at 13:14

        What I find really depressing is that Pompass and Pence actually seem to consider themselves Christians.

  25. April 15, 2019 at 08:15

    Is Julian Assange a journalist? Stop the madness. Speak up!


    • ML
      April 15, 2019 at 09:47

      Dear O Society, you have a way of making me smile while telling it like it is. And I haven’t been smiling much the last few days. So thank you for your link. Cheers to you. ML

      • April 15, 2019 at 13:42

        Always glad to be of some use ML. Sometimes the best thing to do is laugh if only because it beats the hell out of crying about it!

        Carry on…

    • rosemerry
      April 15, 2019 at 13:20

      I remember how Hastings’ death in a terrible fire in his new Mercedes which the Mercedes company declared could NOT have happened by “accident”,and the extremely small amount of information ever released about the case, and the fear on his partner when she was questioned.

      None of Wikileaks exposures, all true, have been found to have caused the death of anyone, but that has not stopped the lies of the USA/UK authorities whose actions leading to deaths in wars and invasions keeps rising.

  26. DW Bartoo
    April 15, 2019 at 07:40

    There may be those reading this chilling article and the articles which have preceded it, here at Consortium News, who will recall that one of the most serious charges levied at the Nuremberg Trials was that of using “the empty form of the law” to effectively destroy the rule of law.

    What the US is orchestrating, not only with regard to Assange and to Manning, who is actually being coerced, through imprisonment, to provide testimony against Assange, but in term of trashing international law and seeking, successfully it would appear, to intimidate the International Criminal Court sufficiently to frighten that Court away from prosecuting US crimes against humanity, as well as undermining UN provisions against such crimes, also through intimidation of various sorts, along with cajoling its vassal states, including the U.K., France, and Germany among many others to dance to the tune of the US military Empire, all these things are nothing less than using the empty form of the law, backed by threat, extortion, and other “inducements”, to run roughshod over human rights and the very principles upon which civil society and honest international peace and cooperation depend.

    Indeed, the US has gone far beyond what the Nazi regime could ever have dared hope or imagine was possible.

    The US, with its verified and existent weapons of truly mass destruction and its insatiable drive for total dominance of humanity and the Earth’s resources, has achieved the “standing” of being the prime threat to human existence.

    The US is not a noble “city on the hill”, serving as great and compassionate example, rather it is a petty, nasty, and grasping empire, viciously dangerous in its flailing collapse, quite capable of ending human existence in a fit of pique and wounded vanity.

    It is that empty and pathetic vanity we now see unleashed in the efforts to assassinate the characters and punish the bodies of Julian Assange and Chelsea Manning.

    It is behavior worthy only if shame, not of pride or if satisfaction.

    • AnneR
      April 15, 2019 at 09:48

      Absolutely right. I would however only quibble a bit over your designation here of the UK as simply behaving as a vassal in this. Not my perception at all, at least not completely. A most willing sidekick, devious to the hilt (and I say this as someone born and bred in that bloody – literally – country). After all, this criminal, misrepresented (for bail skipping, ha!) arrest of Assange deflects attention from the ongoing Brexit business (the ruling elites of the UK and their groupthinkers in the bourgeoisie never intended or intend that the UK really depart the EU), UK complicity in the humanitarian disaster that is Yemen. Besides the CIA-NSA and GCHQ-MI5/6 are buddy buddies, and the Brits are well implicated in the production of “evidence” showing “Russian” collusion/meddling in 2016.

      • DW Bartoo
        April 15, 2019 at 10:51


        I am most certainly willing to stand corrected by your much closer acquaintance with and keen observation of the U.K.

        It certainly is performing as a sycophantic sidekick, and a most willing junior partner in excusing wars of economic convenience to both nations weapons manufacturers.

        Whatever rancor was experienced when FDR forced Churchill to deal with giving up empire has obviously been replaced with canine like devotion to the new bloody leader of the pack of jackals and hyenas who, no doubt, imagine themselves to either saber-toothed tigers or even tyrannosaurs as they ponder what nation or peoples they shall next have for dinner.

        • AnneR
          April 15, 2019 at 12:01

          And they – the Brit aristos/haute bourgeoisie – cannot, ever, apparently release their minds from their and the UK’s imperial past, nor the nation itself. Witness the atrocious business of the Chagos Islands and their inhabitants (sorry evicted/removed inhabitants) and the refusal – two fingers – by the Maybot et al to accept the ICC verdict; witness the decision (!?!) of this hideous (in a long line of them) government’s decision to re-install a UK military presence in several of its remaining imperial outposts; witness its building at some astronomical cost (while carrying on the Thatcher initiated destruction of the NHS etc.) of two aircraft carriers for deployment around the Asian Pacific region (mind you these ships don’t have the aircraft yet, apparently, ‘cos the F35s are bit expensive).

          The continued presumption by the Anglos that they are superior (civilized) while other peoples are in need of their direction, tutelage, control…is sickening beyond words. And journalists, publishers like Assange reveal the very dark heart at the core of this imperialist enterprise (a dark heart that has been beating for well over two centuries). And so they must be punished along with those who provide them with the data. Can’t have the hoi polloi being well informed. No, they must be lulled into cultural stupor while we strip them of all potential say in how they want their countries to be run….

          • DW Bartoo
            April 15, 2019 at 13:06

            AnneR, I am thinking about what is going on, right now, in Haiti.

            There are killings, rapes, and people being burned alive, yet I see no “news” coverage about this in the North American media of the US or Canada, and ” interests” from both nations are involved, in hidden ways, in the violence and oppression which are intended to intimidate and silence those Haitians who know that the revolution of 1840 is not yet realized.

            There is a superlative report at The Real News Network that is well worth watching.

            Be warned, it is not pretty.

            But then. empires really never treat their colonies well, expecting their subjects to acquiesce and behave like thankful children who dare not question those “grown-up adults in the room”.

            Ah, the trials and tribulations of the “White Man’s Burden”.

          • DW Bartoo
            April 15, 2019 at 13:37

            AnneR, have you any idea how the Brit public is responding to the pathetic behaviors of the elites and the actions of Her Majesty’s government’s treatment of Assange?

            I have heard that there is heavy handed disruption of comment threads that mock the government or shred the media’s absurd claims and mocking accounts of Assange.

            Would that the people of various nations might have better information about each other rather than what little gets past the media filters.

            One notes similar slanders if the Yellow Vests in the French media and, even on “alternative” sites, here! In the US we see the Yellow Vests portrayed as violent and selfishly focused on petty grievances.

          • Skip Scott
            April 16, 2019 at 08:33


            The recent advancement in missile technology by Russia makes those aircraft carrier’s (and the USA’s) into multi-billion dollar sitting ducks. They are completely obsolete and they haven’t even left the shipyard.

      • rosemerry
        April 15, 2019 at 13:27

        Not only that, but the whole Skripal drama is based on NO facts-we only have Theresa May’s word about every step of the story. With the clever disappearance of the “victims” and the use of Murdochry and Luke Harding in the Guardian, the public had only speculation and downright fantasising to condemn Russia. Join this to the cooperation with the USA on the Browder/Magnitsky sanctions acts and the “Collusion” stories of the 2016 shambles called the US election and we see that the “close relations” between UK/USA continue.

        • DW Bartoo
          April 15, 2019 at 13:40

          Precisely so, rosemerry.

        • Skip Scott
          April 16, 2019 at 08:24

          Great summary rosemerry. The USA and the UK represent the same empire. They are joined at the hip and cooperate with each other in the pursuit of global dominance. The lies you mention are unknown to the vast majority because what Bob Parry called the “Mighty Wurlitzer”. Julian’s shenanigans threatened the ongoing propaganda narrative, so he is being dealt with. For now we are allowed our “sound proof free speech zone”, but soon they will come for us all.

    • Bob Van Noy
      April 15, 2019 at 09:50

      What you say DW Bartoo is, sadly, true and needs to be thoroughly explored and the facts presented to all for proper evaluation. My own assessment is that some of the most vile escaped the Nuremberg Trials due to our own Government’s complicity and those elements, the worst of the worst, have metastasized into our own current form of deep corruption. It goes back to post WWII or even before that. Until our society can address that era properly it cannot cover up the present.

      One example: http://themillenniumreport.com/2016/09/project-paper-clip-cia-smuggled-in-and-hired-thousands-of-nazis/

      • DW Bartoo
        April 15, 2019 at 10:59

        You are absolutely correct, Bob Van Noy.

        Both in terms of the US welcoming many from the Nazi regime (and not merely rocket scientists as many may believe), as well as the lack of any honest accounting of the effects those new USians had on foreign policy, even to this very day, as well as upon areas of “scientific research” never acknowledged.

    • April 15, 2019 at 14:06

      Spot on.


      “Nothing will avail to offset this virus which is poisoning the whole world. America is the very incarnation of doom. She will drag the whole world down to the bottomless pit.”

      Henry Miller, Tropic of Cancer


      The creation of the United States of America has turned out to be the worst man-made catastrophe ever inflicted on human-kind; and, for that matter, most of the rest of animal-kind.

      Those at Echelon, GCHQ, MI6, NSA, CIA and similar fascists reading this post and ‘signature’, are referred to the profanity used by the sadly seemingly immortal lying manipulative War-Criminal, Mass-Murderer and Traitor Dick Cheney to some Democratic Party non-entity (as pretty much all the Democrats are).


  27. doug
    April 15, 2019 at 05:26

    This artical is nothing but smoke, mirrors and some pocket lint. Everybody knows what assange is and what he is not. He is not a good person, if he had any integrity he would have stood up at the time and said YES I did this because. Maybe the public would have followed him then, but no he ran just like that other coward snowden.

    • DW Bartoo
      April 15, 2019 at 08:00

      Did what, exactly?

      Are you actually thinking for yourself or just spouting some official claptrap sound bites designed to cover up US war crimes?

      Very specifically, what do you imagine you are accusing Julian Assange of having done.

      You are behaving as an agent of character assassination and ad hominem attack, attacking a person rather than that person’s ideas or revelations.

      You are engaging in fallacious argument.

      Rather unwittingly, one suspects, your emotional responses are being used to smear another human being based on innuendo, untruths, and propagandistic manipulation.

      You are expressing opinion, not facts, emotion and not reason.

      Rest assured, you are not alone. But do not imagine that you are either right or justified in your vilification, however righteous you may imagine yourself to be.

      Lynch mobs are always comprised of those who are convinced they are doing justice, are righting wrongs, and punishing transgressors.

      In fact, they are degrading and diminishing their own, personal, humanity, even when surrounded
      by a cheering or jeering throng, as well as being used by those who manipulate them to divide and conquer as well as to destroy the capacity for critical and informed thought and behavior.

      • DW Bartoo
        April 15, 2019 at 09:03

        There seems to be a perception among many that Snowden, Assange, and Manning are “cowards”, who have not “stood up and taken it like” some fictional cowboy, perhaps John Wayne, there the US government and what was once termed the Fourth Estate, now known as “the media” would welcome criticism and honest questions about the behavior of those in high places.

        In fact, it has been another fiction, at least of late, say the last fifty-odd years, that the Fourth Estate would hold power to account.

        Perhaps, to some degree in US history that might have been slightly true. However, it is a part of US mythology, along with a white-washed record that conveniently fails to record or remember various things, quite a few things in fact.

        Gore Vidal once suggested that this is the United States of Amnesia though he did agree with the suggestion that it might better be termed the United States of Alzheimers.

        It is amazing what can disappear down the memory hole as well as how narrow is the “Overton Window” of acceptable, and polite, discussion,

        Consider, how well-informed might the “average person” in the US actually be if the only “information” source available to such a person were the corporate mainstream media?

        Consider how few USians have any idea how limited, “edited”, and “approved” is the material and information contained in the “news”.

        Further consider how limited, shallow, and cherry-picked is the “education” experienced by the vast majority of USians where “controversia” material or ideas is strictly avoided and very little discussed or examined by teachers, from Kindergarten to advanced degree programs.

        An honest history of the many US wars is really never provided including, of course the clandestine and secret “intelligence agency” supported coups, assassinations, election meddling, labor and indigenous assaults, or even the domestic spying revealed by Snowden, now reviled as a “coward”, while John Brennan who lied to Congress about that same spying is a well-compensated media commentator who elicits no censure or disgust from those now vilifying Assange, Manning, Snowden, and numerous other whistle blowers savaged by the Obama administration.

        If these things do not reflect what amounts to systemic mis – or disinformation, then I would be most curious to be enlightened as to what it does suggest is going on.

        As Mark Twain once noted, if one has not read the news then one is uninformed, whereas, if one has read the news, then one is misinformed.

        This suggests that manipulation of understanding is nothing new, yet that the media are now merely stenographers for power does have even more serious implications for what any public maybactuslly know or understand.

        I suggest that we are to witness the results of managed consensus on a most overwhelming level for the foreseeable future, especially as dissenting sources and sites are marginalized of blatantly (and righteously) hounded or simply shut down as enemies to the state (and to corporate, military, and “academic” interests, as well).

        It looks like very interesting times ahead.

        I recall several highway signs:

        One read, “Temporary Run Around”.

        Another read, “Rough Road Ahead. You Have Been Warned!”

        I think those might well be signs of these times.

        What do you think?

    • Nathan Mulcahy
      April 15, 2019 at 08:29

      Assange did many things, like all of us. However, the most important thing he did was to EXPOSE WAR CRIMES COMMITTED BY THE EMPIRE.

      April 11, 2019 was the day when the facade of the empire, together with that of the “west”, came crushing down exposing the rot that has been visible to anyone willing to look and think for himself. It is the start of a new era, because what has now been publicly exposed cannot be undone again.

      • April 15, 2019 at 16:13

        Nathan Mulcahy,

        Hello. Agreed. ” It is the start of a new era, because what has now been publicly exposed cannot be undone again.” People (like “doug”) might find it most interesting to either discover or review a powerful example (linked below) of exposing the rot, arguably the largest factor leading to Julian Assange’s current unjust imprisonment, from a talk with John Pilger where Mr. Assange describes “the most significant email in the whole collection”.

        Has anyone heard either U.S. President Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton or Mike Pompeo say one word whatsoever in response to the immeasurably serious matter of Saudi Arabia and Qatar’s GOVERNMENTS supporting terrorist group ISIS? Who, exactly, is operating “above the law”?


    • Fredd
      April 15, 2019 at 21:51

      I have not the lightest idea of what the “yes, I did this, because” is. I know what he is: a highly intelligent and courageous journalist who did what any journalist with integrity should have done. And you have the courage to call him not a good person? What is wrong with you? How dare you be so obtuse and mediocre.
      I understand that you now count yourself amongst the most ignorant and vapid people on earth making such inane statements and are content with being that? You are not good enough to say his name, you vile creature.
      Name one thing you have done for the benefit of mankind! (Collecting garbage does no count!)

  28. TEP
    April 15, 2019 at 05:18

    Assange will likely be sentenced to several months in UK prison for skipping bail. That combined with the lengthy extradition process should enable enough time for Corbyn to win the next UK general election. Since Corbyn has aleady publicly stated that Assange should not be extradited to the US I see this as Assange’s best chance to avoid extradition, and thus the prolonged inhumane treatment that would surely follow.

    • john wilson
      April 15, 2019 at 05:33

      They could send Assange to Sweden where he has to be before August for the case there against him to become null and void. The Swedish government would have no problem sending Assange to the US, so this is a real possibility for the UK government. It would take the very real pressure of the Tories who are already in trouble over Brexit and don’t want to be seen as the party of lawlessness and spite, even though that’s precisely what they are. 70 or so MPs have already told the government that this what they want. Of course, they have couched their demands in some kind of moralistic verbiage about rape etc, but in reality, they just want rid of him.

      • April 15, 2019 at 23:28

        @ “The Swedish government would have no problem sending Assange to the US … ”

        It would apparently have a large legal barrier, according to one of Assange’s lawyers. In a situation where Sweden extradites a person from another country, it cannot pass through extradition to a third country if the charge in the third country is a political crime. Assange’s lawyers would truly have a lot of fun proving that the U.S. charges were politically motivated. And the U.S. government officials might be extremely wary of permitting a trial on that topic to occur.

    • Skip Scott
      April 15, 2019 at 10:16

      I’m quite sure that the evil forces at work here have seen as far down the road as you. First, I doubt very much that Corbyn would be allowed to win the election. Second, if such a possibility existed, they would extradite him on an accelerated schedule. I believe you falsely presume that there is an independent judiciary in the UK.

      • DW Bartoo
        April 15, 2019 at 11:56

        Well and truly said, Skip Scott.

        The “long game” gamers have immense resources at their beck and call, not least of which are a compliant judiciary, worldwide (think how readily the FISA Court judged accepted the Steele dossier as “evidence sufficient”) and easily rigged elections in pretend democracies as, clearly, obtain in the US, in the U.K., and in France among many other places, Brazil comes quickly to mind and what was done to silence and remove Lulu De Silvia – a man whose fate may well presage that of Assange, especially those parts prohibiting Lulu from reading books or having access to news or being able to make public statements of any kind. Most of humanity has been told virtually nothing about Lulu, including USians who assume that they are among the best and most well-informed public in the world.

        I think our far too many unexamined assumptions may well come to bite us in tender and vulnerable places.

    • defiance demon
      April 15, 2019 at 23:57

      I think the reality is that Assange will be extradited to amerika before Corbyn could take office, if he was elected.

  29. Jeremy Caplan
    April 15, 2019 at 03:35

    Thank you for continuing to cover Julian Assange, the grave injustice he has endured and continues to face.

  30. Orihime
    April 15, 2019 at 02:49

    Scary times very scary times.

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